Britain & Ireland

What was it about industrialisation that led to the emergence of a woman’s movement in Victorian Britain? Why do we see so many people fighting for so many rights and liberties in this period and what are the origins of some of the issues we still campaign on today? This section includes our major series on Social and Political Change in the UK from 1800 to the present day. There are also articles and podcasts on the often violent relationship between England and Ireland during this period and England’s changing relationship with Scotland and Wales. Read more

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  • The British General Strike 1926

    Article

    ‘The General Strike is a challenge to Parliament and is the road to anarchy and ruin.' (Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister, 6th May 1926).‘The General Council does not challenge the Constitution ... the sole aim of the Council is to secure for the miners a decent standard of life. The Council...

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  • The British Government's Confidential Files on the United States

    Article

    Unpublished papers in Britain's National Archives at Kew reveal curious undercurrents in Anglo-American relations. After the conclusion of the Boer War, for example, the British Army supposed that the next major conflict would be not with Germany but with the U.S. A memo printed for circulation in July 1904 entitled ‘A...

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  • The British Union of Fascists: the international dimension

    Article

    Fascism failed in Britain in the 1930s – Europe’s decade of the ‘Brown plague’. Unlike in many European countries, fascists in Britain were never a serious threat to the democratic order. This was not for want of trying, especially on the part of Sir Oswald Mosley and his British Union...

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  • The British soldier in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars

    Article

    Scum of the earth – or fine fellows?Carole Divall asks whether the men of the British Army really were ‘the scum of the earth’, as often asserted, or willing soldiers who earned the respect of the French.‘Soldiers were regarded as day labourers engaged in unsavoury business; a money grant, and...

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  • The Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait 1898-1899: The birth of social anthropology?

    Article

    Dr John Shepherd reviews the history of a major anthropological expedition one hundred years ago. On 10 March 1898 The Times reported that Cambridge Anthropological Expedition led by Alfred Cort Haddon had sailed from London, bound for the Torres Strait region between Australia and New Guinea. In Imperial Britain, the...

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  • The Centenary of the First World War: An unpopular view

    Article

    We are delighted to have an original article by Gary Sheffield in this edition of The Historian. Gary Sheffield is Professor of War Studies, University of Wolverhampton. He is a specialist on Britain at war 1914-45 and is one of Britain's foremost historians on the First World War. He has...

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  • The Chapel and the Nation

    Article

    The Noncoformitst chapel has played a crucial role in the history of the English and Welsh nations. When the great French historian Elie Halevy sought to explain the contrast between the turbulent history of his own country and the peaceful evolution of England in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries...

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  • The Coming of War in 1939

    Article

    I. The Legacy of VersaillesThe Outbreak of a second world war on 1 September 1939 might have been expected to produce in due course a great controversy on ‘war guilt'. But there has been nothing comparable with the debate which took place during the 1920s on the 1914 issues. The angel...

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  • The English Domestic Servant in English History

    Article

    The history of domestic service in England has yet to be written. Hewers of wood and drawers of water there have always been, but historians have usually been little concerned with them. The material for their history is scattered and difficult to assess; even the word ‘servant' is not easy...

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  • The Englishness of George Orwell

    Article

    George Orwell is best known for Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four - one book an allegory of The Russian Revolution, and the other a science fiction dystopia about a globalized world. Before these two last works, the heart and soul of Orwell's writing had been about England and the...

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  • The Enlightenment

    Article

    Can a movement as varied and diffuse as the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century be contained within the covers of a short pamphlet? The problem would certainly have appealed to the intellectuals of that time. Generalists rather than specialists, citizens of the whole world of knowledge, they relished the challenge...

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  • The Evolution of the British Electoral System 1832-1987

    Article

    During the last 20 years our perspective on the great Victorian question of parliamentary reform has noticeably changed. We have acquired a comprehensive picture of the organisation and political socialisation of those who won the vote; and some interesting debates have developed about the social characteristics of the electors and...

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  • The Friar's Bush

    Article

    Nothing on earth would have persuaded me to enter the place… it was the house of the dead Paul Henry, artist (1876-1958) The Friar's Bush cemetery on the Stranmillis Road in Belfast may only be two acres in size, but its history is far bloodier and grislier than you would...

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  • The Gallipoli Memorial, Eltham

    Article

    On April 13 2000 the Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Richard Harris, gave the final Gallipoli Memorial Lecture in the Gallipoli Memorial Chapel at Holy Trinity Church, Eltham. The National Gallipoli Memorial was established there due to the effort and enthusiasm of Holy Trinity’s Vicar, the Reverend Henry Hall,...

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  • The Great Charter: Then and now

    Article

    Magna Carta is a document not only of national but of international importance. Alexander Lock shows how its name still has power all over the world, especially in the United States. Although today only three of its clauses remain on the statute book, Magna Carta still flourishes as a potent...

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  • The Great Exhibition

    Article

    ‘Of all the decades to be young in, a wise man would choose the 1850s’ concludes G.M. Young in his Portrait of An Age. His choice is understandable. Historians and contemporaries have long viewed the middle years of the century as a ‘plateau of peace and prosperity’, an ‘age of...

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  • The Great Powers in the Pacific

    Article

    This pamphlet covers a very large period of history in a very important region with great detail and focus. Themes that are covered include the transition of power and dominance in the pacific region, the conflicts that frequently arose in the struggle for pacific dominance throughout the centuries, as well...

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  • The Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge Disaster of 1845

    Article

    Many communities have cataclysmic disasters which tend to dominate or define their local history. Gareth Davies reveals that the sudden collapse of the Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge is a telling example of this trend. Beside the waters of the River Bure in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk stands a shiny black memorial...

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  • The Handing Back of Hong Kong: 1945 and 1997

    Article

    Andrew Whitfield examines the recovery of Hong Kong from the Japanese, 52 years before its return to China. As the clock ticks ever closer to midnight on 30 June 1997, the sun will set on Britain’s last major colonial outpost. Thousands of miles from the motherland, the colony originally acted...

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  • The Industrial Revolution in England

    Article

    Revolutions of the magnitude of the industrial revolution in England provoke historical controversy: such a revolution is a major discontinuity which a profession more skilled in explaining small changes finds difficult to understand. A revolution that touches a whole society is so diffuse that its significant events are difficult to...

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